Sermon on the Mount (Part 1): A Blessed Life

Sermon on the Mount (Part 1): A Blessed Life

Jesus began the Sermon on the Mount with statements that are commonly called the Beatitudes. In these verses, He described those who were blessed. This word does not merely mean that one is happy. Rather, to be blessed means to be approved of God. This results in true joy that surpasses the temporary moments of “happiness” in this life. This is particularly important because, as we will see, there will be times when those who are “blessed” are those who are suffering. Let us consider the Beatitudes and see how the life of a disciple is a blessed life.
Continue Reading

The New Ancient Paths


Thus says the Lord, ‘Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; and you will find rest for your souls” (Jeremiah 6:16).

The passage above has been rightly used by brethren to emphasize the need to go back to the word of God for our standard rather than following after something “new” that has been invented in the mind of man. We are to “retain the standard of sound words” which has been preached by the apostles (2 Timothy 1:13).

However, we should not confuse “the ancient paths” with what we have always thought, heard, or been taught. They are not always the same thing. In other words, the word of God is true whether we have heard it before or not. The Biblical teaching on any given issue is right, even if we have never previously considered it. God’s word is perfect (Psalm 19:7; James 1:25); man is not (Romans 3:23). Therefore, any conflict between what the Bible says and what man says can be easily resolved – the Bible is always right. Paul wrote, “Let God be found true, though every man be found a liar” (Romans 3:4).
Continue Reading

The Psalm of the Word (Part 18): Righteousness

The Psalm of the Word (Part 18): Righteousness

Righteous are You, O Lord,
And upright are Your judgments.

You have commanded Your testimonies in righteousness
And exceeding faithfulness.

My zeal has consumed me,
Because my adversaries have forgotten Your words.

Your word is very pure,
Therefore Your servant loves it.

I am small and despised,
Yet I do not forget Your precepts.

Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness,
And Your law is truth.

Trouble and anguish have come upon me,
Yet Your commandments are my delight.

Your testimonies are righteous forever;
Give me understanding that I may live.

(Psalm 119:137-144)

The focus of this lesson is on righteousness. God’s word is righteous because He is righteous. We can also be righteous if we follow His word.
Continue Reading

Great Faith and Little Faith

Walking on Water

Jesus spoke of some as having great faith and others having little faith. What is the difference between these two types of faith?

As Christians, if we examine ourselves, we will likely find similarities in both categories. Where we have great faith, we must continue. Where we have little faith, we must improve. The Hebrew writer said, “And without faith it is impossible to please Him…” (Hebrews 11:6). Let us consider the differences between great faith and little faith so that we can learn how to best please the Lord.
Continue Reading

How to Receive God’s Grace

Sunlight on the ocean

Any hope that we have to be saved is by the grace of God (Ephesians 2:8). God’s grace is offered to all (Titus 2:11); however, it is not received by all. How do we receive God’s grace? James explained:

But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, ‘God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you” (James 4:6-10).

James’ explanation is very different from what a denominational preacher would give. Yet his explanation is “inspired by God” (2 Timothy 3:16). So let us take a closer look at what James had to say on the subject of receiving God’s grace.
Continue Reading

The Root of the Problem (Part 7): Arrogance

The Root of the Problem (Part 7): Arrogance

The Bible plainly labels arrogance as a sin. James tells us that “God is opposed to the proud” (James 4:6). The Proverb writer lists pride as one of the things which the Lord hates (Proverbs 6:16-17).

Arrogance is often mentioned in lists of sins – the sins of the Gentiles (Romans 1:30), those which Paul feared would be found among the saints in Corinth (2 Corinthians 12:20), and the sins of false teachers (2 Timothy 3:2). The reason it can be found in these lists is because arrogance is usually connected to other sins. We can think of arrogance as a “gateway” sin. It opens the door to many others. Often it is the beginning of our downfall.
Continue Reading

Lessons on Wisdom from the Life of Solomon

SolomonMany books have been written in which the author claims to be imparting some wisdom to his readers. What makes the book of Proverbs different is the author and the source of his wisdom.

The last two chapters of Proverbs are attributed to “Agur the son of Jakeh, the oracle” (30:1) and “King Lemuel, the oracle which his mother taught him” (31:1). The identities of these individuals are uncertain. However, the bulk of Proverbs can be attributed to “Solomon, the son of David, king of Israel” (1:1). Some of these “proverbs of Solomon” were “transcribed” by “the men of Hezekiah, king of Judah” (25:1).

It is important that we understand how Solomon acquired his wisdom. We find the answer to this shortly after Solomon established his rule as king over Israel.
Continue Reading